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How MG is trying to make a 90-year-old brand ‘new’ again

When Burton joined the company in April 2013, MG Motor had 29 sales points as well as 35 service points. In terms of coverage, this meant only 14% of the UK population was catered for in sales and 20% service.

His task is to establish a network, grow retail sales and then build business and fleet sales. Burton said an analysis of ideal network coverage to cover 100% of the UK shows MG needs about 137 dealers. To entice partners, the company has taken a more pragmatic view on standards with focus on the right location and the quality of the dealer, not showroom size.


MG3 attracting interest from prospective dealers

MG has also approached XPart, the independent service and repair network that specialises in MG Rover cars. It  appointed 15 XPart locations as MG authorised repairers in 2013 and may  add 20 to 25 this year in order to boost service coverage from 50% of the UK to 70%.

In terms of sales points, MG wants 80 by the end of this year and 100 by the end of 2015, giving 90% UK coverage. However, the network has been challenged by winning sales and service business with what has been until recently a one-car brand. Now that the MG3 is turning heads and getting positive press, thanks partly to price positioning, low 4A insurance rating and 42% 3yr/60,000 mile CAP Monitor residual values, there has been an increase in interest from prospective dealers.

Burton believes dealers have appraised themselves of SAIC, they like the MG3 and have been biding their time before making up their mind on the brand. MG holds an open day every four weeks for potential dealers.

Burton and his team had initially put AM100 groups on their target list, but recognised it wasn’t going to build a UK-wide network this way, as the companies included are expecting considerable volumes. So, smaller companies and independents wanting to take their first franchise are in the frame.

Multi-franchised sites are acceptable, and ideally a franchise holder would display three MGs, but in certain rural locations a single car on display plus the ability to run a couple of demonstrators and provide servicing would be acceptable.  

Previously a three-car display was mandatory and franchisees were required to stock a minimum quantity of used MG6s, a requirement they didn’t particularly like.

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